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US Republicans Question Treatment of Christmas Day Terror Suspect


A top Republican in the U.S. Senate is questioning the Obama administration's treatment of the man arrested in connection with the attempted bombing of a U.S. airliner last month.

In Saturday's weekly Republican address, Senator Susan Collins expressed her shock and disbelief that federal investigators spent only 50 minutes questioning bombing suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, before they allowed him to meet with a court-appointed attorney.

Collins says the FBI unilaterally decided to treat Abdulmutallab like a common criminal, not like the foreign terrorist that he is suspected of being, without consulting any of the nation's top intelligence agencies.

The senator calls the decision dangerous, and she accuses the Obama administration of having a "blind spot" when it comes to the war on terror. Collins says foreign terrorists are enemy combatants and should be treated as such.

Abdulmutallab is a Nigerian national accused of trying to blow up a U.S.-bound airliner with nearly 300 people on board shortly before it landed at a Detroit airport December 25.

He has been charged with six criminal counts, including attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and attempted murder.

Abdulmutallab's name was included in a broad database of individuals suspected of having some link to terrorism. But he was not on higher-profile watch lists that might have caught the attention of security screeners. This has raised questions about communication among government agencies and among countries.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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